Ceremonia: utilitarian objects, music, rituals & concheros

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objects must transcend the dimensions of mere function, and become emotional symbols, through nostalgia and rituals. Ceremonia is an exploration on utilitarian objects, as well as the emotional relevance, the performances, and the rituals that surround them, informed by the history, music and reality contained within the old Mexican dance known as concheros. Each of this set’s objects plays part in the experience of Ceremonia, pulling the spectator into the literal and symbolic performance.

ceremonia will be on view starting may 2019 in venice design and october 2019 in design week mexico.

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Concheros is the name given to a ceremony performed in Mexico since the colonial period, along with the music that accompanies it. Syncretic in nature, it features both prehispanic and Christian elements, and its exact origins are difficult to connect to a specific prehispanic religious ceremony. Nowadays, however, it is performed during a number of Christian festivities, and many variants currently exist.

It is a circular and cyclical dance, performative, yet not intended for an audience. Calling upon a deity and their ancestors, concheros organize themselves into groups and hierarchies, and dance and play, in a ritual that brings past and present together. The sound of armadillo-shell mandolins, ayoyotes (shells, tied to the ankles), and drums fills the air, as fragrant herbs purify the space and those who take part.

Concheros is an event set apart by its sounds, its atmosphere, its emotion, and its mystique. Taking the ritual as inspiration, Ceremonia is a search for meaning and magic within utilitarian objects. On the other hand, it is a simple and clear denunciation. Objects that are perceived as useful are given value according to their function; however, when  presented in a certain way, they can become the artifacts of a mystical experience. 




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La atmósfera

Space is crucial in any ritual, as it is in the process of taking participants in a state of meditation and mystical predisposition. The pedestal, made in solid oak, and its crystal, are designed to modify and configurate the space that houses this object. Lights from the pedestal illuminate the floor, add texture, and create new shadows.

On the other hand, the crystal is meant to reflect the viscous and almost organic nature of glass in its original, malleable state. Light coming from the crystal is encapsulated, distorted, and projected in the shape of water-like reflections. Atmósfera is a mysterious and peculiar object, an artifact capable of transforming space.




La caja de música

Concheros’ music, predominantly percussive, is unique by means of its sounds and its rythms, more than its melody or its harmony. It is atmospheric, cyclical, and repetitive. The music box reproduces and reinterprets many of the concheros’ sounds and instruments: shells, strings, and drums, also mirroring the ritual’s syncretic nature.

In Ceremonia, the music box is also the bridge between the spectator and the mysticism of the ritual. By turning the handle, the spectator becomes more than just an observer. The handle, which resembles a rattle’s handle, draws the spectators directly into the ceremony and makes them agents, active participants. 




las copaleras

These pieces, made in high-temperature ceramics, both metallic and stony in appearance, suggest the presence of magical or religious events. It is their capricious shape and their sensibility, and not its function, that gives them value and allows them to conduct the ritual: they are its ever-present witnesses. Ashes are part of a ceremony’s emotional archeology. They show evidence of recent events: the burning of copal (aromatic resin) and fragrant herbs, which are used to purify the place where the ritual takes place, as well as its participants.